TORONTO — Grocery retailer Metro Inc. expects to invest $400-million over six years in its Ontario distribution network. The company will modernize its operations in Toronto between 2018 and 2023 by building a new fresh distribution facility and a new frozen distribution facility—both of which will leverage technological improvements like automation.
“This investment will enable Metro to continue its growth and expansion in the Ontario market,” says Eric R. La Flèche, Metro’s president and CEO. “With a new and modernized supply chain infrastructure, we will be even more responsive to the needs of our customers.”
Metro’s existing distribution network in Toronto was built for the most part more than 50 years ago and no longer meets the evolving needs of the business.
“The new distribution centres will provide improved product assortment and selection accuracy as well as more flexibility which will allow us to improve service to our store network and customers,” states Carmen Fortino, executive vice-president and Metro Ontario division head. “In addition, they will feature state-of-the-art technology to enhance efficiency.”
Metro currently operates six distribution centres in Ontario. Four centres are located in Toronto and two in Ottawa. Together, they provide employment to over 1,500 employees.
Metro’s decision to modernize and automate a part of its distribution network will result in an anticipated loss of approximately 180 full-time and 100 part-time positions starting in 2021.
The grocer acknowledges the impact its decision will have on these employees and their families.
“Working with our employees and our union, we will provide those who will be impacted by this decision with a range of transition measures to support them throughout the process,” says Fortino.
“Fortunately, we have some time to plan the transition.”